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Colorado Whitewater Rafting Age Requirements

a group of people riding on the back of a boat

How Old Do You Have To Be to Go Whitewater Rafting

While many may think of whitewater rafting as an intense, fast-paced, or ‘expert only’ activity, there are many opportunities for both children and beginners to jump in a kayak and experience the thrill of rafting for the first time.

Rafting Basics

Whitewater rafts vary in size from the individual to models that can hold up to 12 people. However, the typical raft holds up to eight people, meaning whitewater rafting is definitely a sport that requires a team effort, cooperation, and trust.

However not to worry – when you’re in a tour group you will be led by an experienced guide who has knowledge of the river and conditions and will maneuver you and your crew away from any obstacles.

Most rafts are made of a material that can easily slip over rocks, and also include various inflatable chambers so if one is punctured there is still air in the raft to keep you afloat.

Advice For Bringing Children

When bringing children, it’s best to time your trip so that you’re not rafting during peak runoff. Be sure to check out the USDS stream flow online for the most updated information before you leave.

Be absolutely sure to follow your packing list guidelines and include those few extras you know your young kids will need, i.e. hats to protect them from the sun, sunglasses, and sunblock. Everyone is bound to get wet, so be sure to bring a bathing suit and any other clothing you are comfortable getting wet, as well as dry clothes to change into afterwards.

Remember that there will be a training session before the rafting trip begins, and all safety equipment including life jackets and helmets will be provided by the company.

Short & Mild Rafting Trip

Colorado Whitewater Rafting’s “short and mild” trip option is a great entryway into rafting for small children and beginners. Children as young as two years old and under 50 pounds are both welcome on this trip. If you have children over five years old the half-day trip may be a better-suited option.

The class II short and mild trip is fun, scenic, and gives rafters a chance to take in the beauty of the Colorado River without getting completely soaked.

The tour embarks from the riverside facility in Glenwood Springs at 1:30 pm, lasts 1 ½ to 2 hours and is six miles long. Shuttles to and from the facility are included in the trip.

River Classifications

So how will you know if a rafting trip suitable for beginners? All rivers are classified between class I and class VI – class I being the least intense with just a few small waves, and class VI being the most intense (as well as being considered commercially unraftable.)

Obviously, for beginners and young children, you will want to start out on the lower range of the scale!

Class I and class II rapids are perfect for those who are just getting their whitewater rafting legs, as they provide clear channels and an easy flow with a very little maneuvering.

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